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Jon Krakauer wrote a biography, Into The Wild (1996), describing a man’s, Chris McCandless, life before and during his journey to Alaska to be able to discover himself and a new life while leaving his family with worry and pain. Jon Krakauer has demonstrated Chris’s relationship with his family, like his father who he did not get along with and his sister who he adored so much, and how he left his family without warning or ever contacting them during his journey. Chris McCandless has always been around money and a caring family that he wanted to see the reality of the real world where money is not in it or the importance of his family. He supports his claim by describing McCandless’s journey while meeting new people and experiencing new things like living independently and not being around so much money like his family. Krakauer has discussed his own experiences, in the book, traveling to Alaska like McCandless, comparing their experiences based off McCandless’s journal and Chris’s acquaintances that he has met on his journey.
The author made sure to include many thoughts and opinions on Chris McCandless’s courageous journey without the right equipment and money to help him get through. In the end of the book Krakauer described the death of Chris McCandless in Alaska in the magic bus, died from starvation because he was unprepared. Krakauer’s purpose is to show how reckless, selfish, and courageous someone can be in order to discover themselves and finding the meaning of life while also impacting others” lives. Jon Krakauer adopts an empathetic tone for people who want to discover themselves and travel to do so. If Chris McCandless were to look back at his inspirational journey and see the grief and pain he caused his family, he would have still went on this journey because it was the only way for him to find his independence and find himself. Chris McCandless had met many people, went unprepared on purpose, traveled on his own, and depended on himself. Although Chris McCandless went on a difficult journey while leaving pain and grief to his family, he did live an inspiring life because he followed his dream journey to discover himself without letting anything stop him.Some people would not leave their family unannounced and cause so much grief and worry, but Chris McCandless did. Chris McCandless’s family had expected so much from him like him going to Emory college and graduate from the school his father went to. McCandless has been living in Atlanta for a while and was able to call and send letters to his family to keep them updated about his life, but then he stopped contacting them which led to them going to Atlanta to see what was going on and they found his apartment empty without him. In the book it stated, “Five weeks earlier held loaded all his belongings into his little car and headed west without an itinerary…an epic journey that would change everything.” (Krakauer, 22)
Jon Krakauer has shown what McCandless has done before his parents showed up. He meant that McCandless has followed his dream that will change him. Chris McCandless has made sure to not warn his family at all about his leave. This may have been tough one for McCandless since he did everything to satisfy them and kept them updated. McCandless has also kept a close bond with his little sister, Carine McCandless, which he also caused grief to in the end. Carine was more understanding to why her brother left which she said in the book, “…But I didn’t really feel hurt by his failure to write. I knew he was happy and doing what he wanted to do; I understood that it was important for him to see how independent he could be…”(125) Both family members felt different to the situation on why Chris left without warning. McCandless was able to go on his journey with the worryness he left his family not letting it disturb him.Throughout his journey to Alaska McCandless had met many people who offered their help to him. Chris McCandless had started going by the name Alex Supertramp or Alex McCandless when he began his journey and met his first acquaintance. Beginning of the book Jim Gallien was coming from Fairbanks and picked up a hitchhiker, Chris McCandless, taking him to the stampede trail. During the car ride Gallien got to know more about what Chris was carrying which made Gallien concerned since the young man was unprepared. In the book he has stated, “There was just no talking the guy out of it,” Gallien remembers. “He was determined… He couldn’t wait to head out there and get started.””(6)
Jim Gallien meant that he tried to scare the boy but Chris would not back down. Gallien noticed how determined Chris was to explore the wild without the right equipments, cold weather, and not enough food to last him. The speaker, Gallien, and I both noticed how determined McCandless was for his wild journey. Letting nothing stop him even if it means he may not survive. Chris McCandless has been working at Mcdonalds and many coworkers would offer him help or a ride home since he came to work many time smelling awful. In the book Krakauer has wrote, “ McCandless had tried to disguise the fact he was a drifter living out of a backpack: He told his fellow employees that he lived across the river in Laughlin.” (41) McCandless has been camping and squatting in vacant homes. He was hiding that he was homeless, so possibly no would feel bad or offer help. McCandless was having a difficult moment where he had to work for his money and not let people know he was homeless, because he would not accept any help. In the end Chris McCandless was able to make it to his final destination in his journey, Alaska. After Jim Gallien had dropped him off at the Stampede Trail, Chris found himself the in the “magic bus”. The magic bus was a bus stranded in the Stampede Trail where it got stuck during the snowing season so people left it for others to stay in and keep warm. While he was able to make it, he got poisoned by some seeds he mistaken. In Chris McCandless’s journal he wrote, “DAY 100! MADE IT!” he noted jubilantly on August 5, proud of achieving such a significant milestone. “But in weakest condition of life. Death looms as serious threat…trapped in wild…’” (195)
Chris knew he was not going to make it but everyday for him was an achievement surviving. This was a difficult time for McCandless since he was getting weak and getting close to death. Chris McCandless knew about the possibilities of dying and he still took the chance to go unprepared and able to achieve his dream.Everyone had something or someone that inspired them to do something with their lives or choices, like for Chris McCandless it was Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy. In Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy it stated, “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.” (15) This passage was highlighted in McCandless’s book found with him. This quote related to his family since they were not a close family since the parents expected a lot from Chris and always pushed for the perfect son. In the book Chris mentions that his father was with his first wife during the time Billie, Chris’s mother, had Chris McCandless, which led to Chris McCandless being angry at that fact. Chris did not have a close bond with his father for that reason also. Another passage was highlighted in Walden, Or Life In The Woods by Henry David Thoreau and it stated, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance an obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices.” (117)
Chris McCandless believed he did not need so much money or the love from his family to explore and he wanted to make Thoreau and Tolstoy proud. McCandless burned his money where he decided to leave his datsun, his car, and some other items. Krakauer has stated, “…he arranged all his paper currency in a pile on the sand–a pathetic little stack of ones and fives and twenties–and put a match to it…” (29)
McCandless wanted to tramp around and hitchhike. He wanted to live a life that does not involve around money. This was quite inspiring since Chris was always around money and the wealth of his family, but he was able to leave that behind and not let it run his life. Although Chris McCandless did leave grief and pain to his family as he left unannounced, he did live an inspiring life because he was able to become self aware and independent. This journey of his has let him be more self aware of himself and life, he wanted to experience another life experience besides jobs and school. He was able to just pack a few things and leave while his family stayed behind. Chris McCandless lived without money and the right materials to stay in the wild on purpose. If Chris McCandless could look back then he would not regret anything that happened, which was that he was able to learn and achieve his journey.
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